Elder abuse and misuse of powers of attorney


As our population ages, it will be increasingly common for people to be caring for elderly parents and other relatives. In order to protect seniors, governments in Canada have put in place safeguards to ensure that they are not taken advantage of.

Lynne Butler has an interesting blog post here on whether elder abuse is in fact a crime; as she notes, the short answer is yes. There are certain types of elder abuse that are obviously crimes. As Lynne notes, using a power of attorney for anything other than promoting and protecting the interests of the grantor is a special crime under the Canadian Criminal Code. If you are acting under a power of attorney for anyone, but particularly for a vulnerable person, you must be careful how you use that document. You may even want to seek professional advice before you start acting.